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Juggernaut/Wendler: Week Five and Beyond

Posted 21st April 2015 by Josh Schouten

Those observant CrossFitting students will know that we are doing a mix of Juggernaut and Wendler strength training in the current 16-week phase.  The dedicated ones who will achieve the best results have downloaded the Juggernaut spreadsheet and have been doing an excellent job of recording their weights and repetitions.  Keep up the good work! For those who have not been recording your weights please do not come to the coaches and ask what weight you should have on the bar, its time for you to take some ownership of your own training and stop being a baby.

Everything you need to know can be downloaded here.

The Wendler System

Many of you have been asking about the Wendler system and how we are using it in conjunction with Juggernaut.  Wendler is slightly different as it works on a 4-week mesocycle of performing max effort on –  wk1: 5RM, wk2: 3RM, wk3: 1RM then deloading in week 4. This cycle then repeats with a new working max weight that may be different to your Juggernaut results.  Similar to the Juggernaut system, the moneymaker is the number of repetitions you perform in week 3 (realization phase) on the final AMRAP.  The following formula can be used to predict your new Wendler 1RM for a particular lift.

Weight x Reps x .0333 + Weight = Estimated 1RM

For example, if you managed to overhead squat 60kg for 4 repetitions in week 3 of the current phase you can calculate it as follows:

New Wendler estimated working max = 60kg x 4reps x 0.0333 + 60 = 68kg

You will use this new Wendler working max to calculate your percentages for all Wendler lifts in weeks 5-8.

Why is this different to Juggernaut?

Both Juggernaut and Wendler system are designed to make you stronger.   The current 16-week phase has been designed to turn you all into super strong athletes ready to pick up some serious weights.

The Juggernaut system starts at a much higher repetition range than the Wendler system.  The first 4-week of Juggernaut was the 10’s wave and the next 4-weeks will be the 8’s wave.  Juggernaut is using lighter weight for more repetitions to calculate a new working max, there is a greater margin of error at this point in time when the repetitions are high.  When we move into the 5’s wave and the 3’s wave the margin of error to calculate the working max will be a less.

Wendler on the other hand is using lower repetitions 5,3,1 to calculate a new working max.  As the weight is heavier and the repetitions are lower, the margin of error in this calculation is a less.  There can be a significant difference between the Juggernaut working max and the Wendler working max at this point in time.  Most of us are a lot better at picking up a lighter weight for endless repetitions and we struggle when the weight gets heavy, so depending on your dominant muscle fibre type what you will be good at

If your struggling with the maths you can simply use you Juggernaut working max to calculate Wendler Bench and Deadlifts, however the Wendler Front Squat / OHS is not an exercise we are doing in Juggernaut and you will need to figure this one out.

Missed Training Session

Work and life unfortunately get in the way of training sometimes and sometimes we miss a session here or there.  Do you best to get into the gym during open gym time to catch-up on the Juggernaut and Wendler elements that you have missed.  If this is not an option you can simply perform the session you are currently up to during the class.  For example, if you’ve missed week 3 of the Juggernaut deadlifting session you can perform this session in Mondays classes while the rest of the class are doing the deload week.  Or if you miss week 1 of the new 8’s wave, you can perform this in week 2, while the rest of the class are performing the week 2 sessions.

Yes you will always be a week behind unless you can find some time to hit the gym and do an extra session.  It is possible to skip a session and continue with the rest of the class, but this will impact your end result.

Stalling in Juggernaut or Wendler

Everyone will eventually come to a point where they can no longer make any more progress on the lifts.  We won’t be able to hit the sets and reps we are supposed to be hitting, and the weights will start to get heavy.  When this happens, we simply need to take 90% of your max (either 1RM or current working max) and start over again on the current wave.

Don’t be upset when you reach this point, this is all part of the journey on the road to strength gains.  We work our butts off to improve our max weights and we will reach a stalling point.  When this happens we simply reset and go at it again. Every single increase, no matter the amount, is a positive result and should be appreciated.

New Members

This is always a tricky one for me when designing the programme.  It’s hard to program a 16-week phase and then have new members come in along the way.  If you’re a new member and you’ve done some lifting in the past (deadlifts, squats, bench and military press) you are welcome to follow the current class schedule. Please come and talk to the coaches about the best “working weight” for you to start at.

If you’ve not done any real lifting before it’s going to be a little tough to jump ahead on the programme.  Ideally it would be best if you started at the beginning and performed the 10’s wave while the remainder of the class is working on the current phase.  Again, please talk with the coaches to get assistance with the best sets, reps and weights for you.

Its been a very interesting 4 weeks in the box and very rewarding to see the majority of members taking on the Juggernaut challenge.  In the 2 years we have been open, this is the first time I’ve seen so many people recording their weights and working hard to improve their overall strength.  There is a good positive vibe around the gym and a little friendly competition to see who can AMRAP the most reps each week.  Keep it up team.